Last week I wrote about the joy of having 2 dozen pounds of unsalted butter neatly stacked in my freezer. However, this happiness is easily usurped by seeing 7 varieties of holiday treats (cookies, bark, brittle) neatly packaged and ready for giving. The sight of this never fails to fill me with delight and serenity.
After the hard work of the baking is done, it’s time for the fun part…packaging it all up to give away. I am always on the lookout all year for interesting, reasonably priced containers in which to package up my treats. Ordinary “holiday themed” cookie tins are a little too pedestrian for me. I like to think outside the box. One year I packaged Pecan Almond Caramel Corn into a cello bag and stuffed it into an outdoor lantern from Ikea. Another year, I packaged up all the cookies in cello bags and then presented them in a huge watering can.
This year, I found these adorable treasure chests at HomeSense. The problem was, they only had about 8 of them, and I needed 40. So, I spent an afternoon driving around to all the HomeSense stores in town. (There are 5 in the Ottawa area) By the end of they day I had enough. I attracted a bit of attention at the cash when I piled my 10 treasure chests onto the counter. Everyone felt the need to ask me what I was planning to do with them.
This year I was very excited to have some help doing the last bit of baking and packaging. My girlfriend and her daughter, (who is my god-daughter!) from Toronto, came for a visit. My god-daughter wanted to come and learn how to bake with me. She is 20 years old and has wonderful fine motor skills. Within minutes, she was piping the gingerbread snowflakes like a pro! With their help, I got everything packaged up in record time. I loved having their company and can’t wait for them to come back next year and help me again!
The treasure chests were black and white so I downloaded a black and white pattern to use on my labels. We played around with a few different accent colours (lavender, yellow, pink and turquoise) and the blue shade was voted tops! I use a software program from Broderbund called Print Shop. The circular labels are from onlinelabels.com.
It was a bit of a challenge to fit all the cookies into the chests, but my girlfriend is a deep thinker and very intelligent and she figured out the best way to do it in no time flat. My spatial skills are very weak so I was tremendously grateful for her assistance, as it would have taken me forever to puzzle it all out.
I used to tie up all the cello bags with ribbon but that caused a few different problems. Firstly, it was very time-consuming and secondly, it was way too easy to untie the bags, steal a cookie and then tie it up again, without anyone being the wiser. I finally invested in a bag sealer which has saved me money in ribbon, time in bow tying and calories in keeping my grubby little hands out of the bags!